‘Monty Python’s Spamalot’ at West Potomac High School-Saturday, May 3, 2014 Matinee Cast

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FOUR AND A HALF STARS
This is a review of the Saturday matinée cast of West Potomac High School’s production of Monty Python’s Spamalot, with the following changes in casting  from ‘Monty Python’s Spamalot’ at West Potomac High School’s review on DCMetroTheaterArts by Jessica Poole. At my Saturday, May 2, 2014 matinee performance these roles were portrayed by the following students: Lady of the Lake (Nikki Amico); Not Dead Fred (Kristi Thomas); Sir Not-Appearing in this Show (Alex Case); Singing Minstrel (Emma Harris); and Yelling Minstrel (Jessica Niles).

"The Knights of the Round Table.' Photo by  Laura Marshall.
“The Knights of the Round Table.’ Photo by Laura Marshall.

When preparing to perform the classic British legend of King Arthur, many think of the epic quests pursued by him and his knights. With many dangers and challenges faced before them, they persevere with their god-given motives to retrieve Arthur’s ultimate prize, the Holy Grail. The legend is one that teaches strength, courage, and, most importantly, loyalty.

All of that is thrown out the window here. Performed at West Potomac High School, Monty Python’s Spamalot, a musical recreation of the 1975 cult classic film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, interprets its own story of King Arthur’s search for the Holy Grail, but with outrageous antics and goofy characterization. The show invokes humor with many references, parodying gays, Jews, the French, divinity, and even 21st century pop culture.

Director and Co-Choreographer Philip Lee Clark blissfully recreated the show with the same mood of the classic, with lively personality feeding off into explosive dance numbers from the 50-person cast. Musical Director Ernest Johnson established smooth harmonies which the students stunningly complimented with a superb orchestra, conducted by Steve Rice.

The sets, designed by Natalie Jurkowski and Ella Moore, presented the grandeur era with spectacular scenery, all filling the stage as eye-candy for the audience. Gracie Denton was first-rate with sound, with a smooth balance of obtaining dialogue and suddenly shocking all with hysterically-timed effects.

Lighting design by Katie Kamara and Sarah Bowman helped differentiate tones and atmospheres with unique effect when Arthur encounters God, and during the whimsical dancing of “His Name is Lancelot.” Costumes all creatively unified to present different styles from the Middle Ages to today, with similar success that made the shoe-string budgeted film charming.

As the man whose adventure was bequeathed to him by the finger in the sky, Peter Serle was dashing as the glorious King Arthur. The character also presented hints of an emotional man behind his sterling armor, most significantly backed up by his booming bass voice in “I’m All Alone.” His majestic presence stood out at times when the show pacing slowed down, and immediately regained the audience’s attention with his arrogance and passion.

Nikki Amico presented an egotistical Lady of the Lake, and she put the audience in stitches when breaking the fourth wall as her bombastic soprano voice soared throughout the theatre, in “What Ever Happened to My Part.”She operatically complains about disappearing from the show for a long period of time, and she finally reappears in the second act to complain about her lack of attention.

The cast and crew of ‘Spamalot’ posing in front of the “Trojan Rabbit” on their 4th Tech Saturday. Photo courtesy of West Potomac High School.
The cast and crew of ‘Spamalot’ posing in front of the “Trojan Rabbit” on their 4th Tech Saturday. Photo courtesy of West Potomac High School.

What was most superlative on stage was the diversity of the ensemble, particularly the Knights of the Round Table. Each actor: Sir Bedevere (Hunter Harlow), Sir Lancelot (Austin Harlow), Sir Robin (David Jarzen), and Sir Dennis Galahad (Ben Roberts) combined to create a comedy of misfits as a marvelous quartet, talented tappers, and synchronized horseback riders. These are genuine characters and dine actors who displayed excellent comic timing. Their numbers flourished with Jarzen’s humorous explanation of how to succeed on Broadway, and Roberts’ overbearing beauty, backed by a squad of peppy cheerleaders who cheer for his knighting. As Lancelot, Austin Harlow challenged modern-day issues, and Hunter Harlow wittily reflected Bedevere’s  lack of common sense and memory lapses.

As the pack mule to King Arthur, Eddie Perez was lovable as the loyal, but often-ignored, Patsy. Perez presented bright optimism in “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” and was the smile who firmly stood behind King Arthur.

West Potomac High School ‘s Monty Python’s Spamalot was an enjoyable show filled with many laughs. Director/Choreographer Clark triumphed once again, directing another memorable production.

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Monty Python’s Spamalot played May 1-3, 2014 at West Potomac High School – 6500 Quander Road, in Alexandria, VA.

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Meet the Cast of West Potomac High School’s ‘Spamalot’ by Gracie Denton.